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TASS and Reuters

Two weeks ago, we learned of Steve Adler proclaiming that "culture is the most powerful thing in an organisation." Now we have the newly-minted president of Reuters, Michael Friedenberg, expressing his "delight" at an agreement with TASS that will provide the Russian state news agency - as much a purveyor of news that the Kremlin sees fit to be printed (or broadcast) as it was 30, 40, 50 and 60 years ago as it is today.


Just as in the ICE agreement a year or so back under which an arm of Reuters contracted to help the US Department of Homeland Security track down illegal immigrants, this latest development suggests that in fact the current powers have little idea of the real culture that drove Reuters over the decades until 2007.


Also, as a former correspondent and bureau chief in Moscow for a total of 18 years, I see this latest development as an insult to those Reuter journalists based in the Soviet capital who over the years were calumnied and vilified through the medium of TASS, often before their expulsion (disclosure: I was not one of these) as "slanderers," "hired capitalist hacks" or the like, for actually doing their job of trying to report objectively, in other words providing from Moscow the "exceptionally verified news" that current TASS chief Sergei Mikhailov declares his agency is now offering. ■